Category Archives: Iraq

Dispatches from Iraqi Kurdistan: The Rowanduz Archaeological Program 2014

Gird-i-Dasht

May 10 Like swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, archaeologists are once again arriving at excavations all over the world. This summer, Penn students and faculty are back in Iraqi Kurdistan for the second season of the Rowanduz Archaeological Program (RAP). As a field director, I’m one of the first to arrive and one of […]

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Ur Digitization Project: April 2014

Bottom of Field card concerning PG778, containing drawing of U.10183

Artifact of the month Spotlight on Field Number U.10183 (Museum Number B17249) ‘goddess-handled’ jar In our recent investigations of pottery from Ur housed at the Penn Museum we have seen more than 1300 pieces, measuring, describing, photographing, recording condition, and making repairs or other treatments for those in need. In some cases we are removing […]

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Anzu and “the chicken from …”

Anzu attacks!

Upon hearing of the newest dinosaur – the Anzu wyliei – I grew slightly more excited than your average dinosaur fan. The paleontologists gave a shout out not only to a trustee’s grandson (Wylie) but more exciting to me, to a Mesopotamian bird often seen with the body of an eagle and the head of […]

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The Ur Digitization Project: The Largest Jar!

Field Photo from Pit F showing an excavated kiln still containing pottery

While working on the Ur Digitization Project and the condition assessment of the ceramic vessels from Ur, I often find myself thinking about how they were made.  Once in a while I notice features that help illuminate that question.  My favorite example of this is 31-16-160, which is described in our database as, “pottery, the […]

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Ur Digitization Project: February 2014

Map from UE7 showing Old Babylonian site with late grid placement: original designators have been placed over their excavation areas.

Site Records Mapping Woolley’s Notes Spotlight on Letter Designators for area excavations found in Ur notes and reports As we go through Woolley’s field notes from his excavations at the ancient city of Ur we learn more and more, not just about the buildings and artifacts he found, but about the way in which he […]

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Ur Digitization Project: January 2014

Legrain Photo of the site of Palmyra in Syria, 1926.

Personal Records, 1926 Continued Spotlight on Legrain’s travels through his Letters and photos We have now completed scanning the curatorial records of Father León Legrain, or at least those that most directly concern the ancient city of Ur. I have now read through many of them, particularly those sent to Penn Museum director George Gordon, […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Bicycles, Horses, and a Golf Club

184826

The excavations at Nippur, Iraq are some of the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s most well known explorations. The seasons at Nippur resulted in numerous important artifacts and a plethora of new data and knowledge. Very serious work, however, calls for very serious party time. This week’s photo captures some downtime somewhere between 1899 and 1900. […]

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Ur Digitization Project: November 2013

Father Legrain working on cuneiform tablets at the Ur Dighouse

Father Legrain’s Records Spotlight on travel sketches Trip back from Ur, 1925 In both the 1924-25 and the 1925-26 seasons, Father León Legrain was the epigrapher at Ur–the person whose expertise was in cuneiform script and whose duty it was to investigate the clay tablets as they were found. Father Legrain was curator of the […]

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The Salty Pots of Ur and the Desalination Station

Ceramics drying after desalination

In July, I joined the Ur Digitization Project.  As a part of this project, I have been working on a condition assessment of the ceramics from Ur.  In doing the condition assessment I am looking at, measuring, and evaluating the stability of every ceramic vessel in the Museum’s collection from Ur.  So far I have […]

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Ur Digitization Project: September 2013

A view down Straight Street (Division Street) in the 1930-31 season. UPM Archive photo 191883

Excavation of the ancient city, 1930-31 Season Spotlight on Domestic Area AH Reconstructing original house numbers and the process of their excavation One of the great accomplishments of the Ur excavation was the large extent of domestic architecture it revealed. Many early archaeological efforts focused almost exclusively on monumental structures and grandiose tombs. Woolley certainly […]

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